Joshua D. Guilas

With technology constantly improving and cures coming to the forefront, the future of medicine looks different yet bright. From augmented reality, to 3D printing and surgical robots, check out the ways in which modern medicine will impact the future.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive technology that allows the user to view 3D images imposed in the user’s environment. Not only has augmented reality been beneficial for entertainment purposes such as video games, but augmented reality has also made an impact in the medicinal field.

“It may be possible to collect 3D datasets of a patient in real time, using noninvasive sensors like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography scans (CT), or ultrasound imaging.” Researcher Ronald T. Azuma stated in his study “A Survey of Augmented Reality.”

This allows doctors to get to the root of the problem and show the situation at hand. It also allows the doctors to get a 3D image of the problem projected directly on the patient.

“This ability would be very useful during minimally invasive surgery, which reduces the trauma of an operation by using small incisions or no incisions at all,” Azuma said.

AR can also be used as a training device, equipping medical students with a virtual body and manual. According to ReadWrite’s article “How Augmented Reality Helps Doctors Save Lives,” augmented reality projects “bones, muscles, nerves and other internal body parts,” allowing medical students to “practice procedures on mannequins in a somewhat real-world game of ‘Operation.’”

3D Printing

With 3D printing’s running start in advancing technology, scientists have also found an innovative way to use 3D printing for medicinal purposes by printing whole organs.

“We have shown that we can print these capillaries, we have shown they are functional, that they mature to form capillaries and that we can tailor make them to the sizes and structures we need,”  Dr. Luiz Bertassoni said to The Guardian.

This is amazing news for those who are in desperate need of new kidneys as it will allow patients to have faster organ transplants.

Surgical Robots

While surgical robots are already in use––such as the Da Vinci surgical system that helps complex surgery without being so invasive––these robots are are still massive pieces of technology. However, robots are starting to be simplified, as in the case with the Axsis system developed by Cambridge Consultants. The Axsis system uses a robot with two tiny pincers to help cure cataracts. With their work on the screen, the image is enlarged and the surgeon is able to control the robot without the need for error. It also allows them to keep a steady hand on the problem at large.

“It won’t let you make the mistake of punching through the back of the lens,” Chris Wagner said in New Scientist’s article.

Researchers hope to push forward the Axsis technology to cure more diseases in the future.

Overall, the future seems to be a brighter place in terms of medicine. Certain illnesses could become a thing of the past and perhaps us, as a species may continue to live longer with the future of modernizing medicine.